Remember when President Bush said the U.S. would bring democracy to Afghanistan? Afghan and Western officials have indicated that last month’s elections were so fraudulent that almost 25 percent of all votes cast will be thrown out.

The fraud includes ballot-box stuffing, citizens forced to vote at gunpoint, and corrupt election officials and security forces. –JCL

The New York Times:

Although the announcement of the preliminary results of the parliamentary elections planned for Sunday were postponed, interviews with Afghan and western officials indicate that fraud was pervasive and that nearly 25 percent of the votes will be thrown out.

The fraud, which included ballot-box stuffing, citizens forced to cast their votes at gunpoint, corrupt election officials and security forces complicit with corrupt candidates, is expected to mean that 800,000 to a million votes will be nullified, according to two western officials who are following the election closely. The Afghan Independent Election Commission, which oversees the election, has refused to disclose the number of votes that could be thrown out but said in a statement that it had decided to nullify wholly or partially the votes cast at 430 polling centers and that votes at another 830 sites were being audited, suggesting substantial problems.

Until now the commission has been praised for endeavoring to run an honest vote-counting process, but the delay at the last minute, as hundreds of candidates have thronged to Kabul clamoring to know the results.

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